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Cesar, Brandon, Leeza-Marie and Crystal

Cesar O. Estien (he/they)
PhD Student at University of California, Berkeley 

Cesar O. Estien is currently a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Cesar is broadly interested in understanding how humans and cities influence organismal biology (e.g., behavior, health) and, subsequently, population ecology/community dynamics (e.g., coexistence, competition). In their current research, they center environmental (in)justice to fully understand the social and ecological impacts cities have on wildlife and how they interact with humans. Cesar plans on using this work, along with the work we do here in the Environmental Justice section, to conceptualize how we can build more just and equitable cities that work for people and wildlife. (

Brandon Quintana (he/him)
MS Student at California State University, Fullerton

Brandon Quintana is currently a master’s student in the Biological Science department at California State University, Fullerton. Brandon graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in Environmental Studies and a Ronald E. McNair Alumni. He aims to bring light to environmental justice issues faced by historically excluded communities and make academia a more welcoming and inclusive environment. For his thesis, he is currently studying how biomass and condition index of filter feeders are responding to different factors such as sedimentation and eelgrass in a living shoreline setting. The goal of his research is to use the results of the study to inform restoration management and better protect coastal communities while increasing habitat and biodiversity. Overall, he plans to use an interdisciplinary perspective that combines coastal restoration, education, and policy to advocate for low-income communities on environmental injustice issues they are facing while concurrently preserving natural and human landscapes. (

Leeza-Marie Rodriguez (she/her)
PhD Student at University of California, Santa Barbara

Leeza-Marie Rodriguez is a 1st year Ph.D. student at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where she is investigating the effects of Marine Heatwaves (MHWs) on marine invertebrate physiology. The main objective of her study is to understand how important ecosystem engineers, like sea urchins, respond to stress in their environments and what traits allow them to persist in place. Leeza is also interweaving this research with environmental justice, so as to address and inform marginalized communities about the issues associated with climate change to harbor a welcoming and inclusive environment. Leeza is also a recent 2021 SEEDS alumni, and is eager to become more aware while also educating others about environmental justice. (

Crystal Ramirez (she/her) 
MS Student at California State University, Los Angeles

Crystal Ramirez is currently a 2nd year MS student at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Her research focuses on whether facilitation via microclimate amelioration is a mechanism influencing an increase in productivity in polyculture food systems in an urban garden. She uses theoretical ecology and biodiversity-ecosystem functioning principles to study this and aims to also incorporate environmental justice and indigenous knowledge into her research. With this interdisciplinary approach, she aims to address food sovereignty in low-income communities. (


Jorge Ramos (Past-Chair), Executive Director for Environmental Education, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford University

Jorge Ramos has been a member of ESA since 2004, starting as an undergraduate SEEDS student. He is originally from Juarez, Mexico. He moved to the USA where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree at The University of Texas at El Paso, a Master of Science degree at the University of Washington, Seattle, and a PhD at Arizona State University, all in the fields of environmental science and ecology. After completing his PhD, Jorge worked at Conservation International in Washington DC, where he helped develop, implement, and manage coastal community conservation projects worldwide. In his new role at Stanford University, Jorge co-teaches the course Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and is in charge of the education and outreach programs of Stanford’s biggest outdoor classroom, an 1100-acre preserve. He takes advantage of the diverse ecosystems and the preserve’s rich human history to teach ecology in the field to students, community members, and hundred of GK-12 students from the region. Jorge is also a volunteer, advisor, and mentor for scientific organizations that support traditionally underrepresented minorities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields such as SACNAS, and SEEDS. More information see his website.